Mascara Clumping : why this happens and how to avoid it!

Mascara Clumping : why this happens and how to avoid it!

September 06, 2020

Disclaimer : This page contains an affiliate link to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through this link.


Mascara clumping - so many reasons why!
  • Overloading the applicator with product. New bottles, pumping the wand up and down(brings air into the bottle to dry out mascara faster), having  excess product on the tip of the applicator, and not swiping the mascara on the edges of the bottle builds too much product on the wand. This will clump on your lashes! Wipe off excess on the side of the container before applying.
  • Applying too many coats. I have watched so many YouTube makeup tutorials (purely for research:)) - I notice that they routinely apply numerous repetitive coats of mascara to give the appearance of thicker lashes. This can be done but to avoid clumping it helps to allow a coat to dry before applying a new coat or changing the formula of mascara for each coat (for example lengthening types for the first  coats and thickening for the next)
  • Only applying in one direction can lead to clumping- by changing up the direction (upwards, downwards, zig zag) will help avoid clumping from build up of product in one direction 
  • Expired mascara will dry out and clump. Once a new container is opened it is best to write the date on the side with a black sharpie. Toss it in 3 months. Two big reasons why- first it dries out and will clump. The second reason is that once you open a new mascara, bacteria can start to enter the bottle gradually over time. One of the most common ‘cosmetic injuries’ is accidentally jabbing the eye with the mascara wand (think of women putting it on while at red lights and in traffic) or accidentally scratching the cornea. If the mascara is particularly old the bacteria that gets into the eye can cause some damage!

Most mascara will last for 3 months but if it does start to dry out sooner you can add saline eye drops to the bottle to restore some moisture to reduce clumping.
Best way to remove mascara:
  • For clumping mascara that was just applied- if you can catch this while still wet then simply using a tissue to gently wipe away excess will help. Getting some separate clean applicators to just brush out the excess in the lashes can help. Also, an eyebrow brush can be used to brush through eyelashes to help reduce the clumping and separate the lashes.
  • For daily removal of mascara- this has become one of the most common reasons to see patients for eyelid rashes in the past few years! There are tons of makeup removers on the  market. They do a great job of removing makeup. They also can dry the skin on the eyelids quite a bit. No one ever seems to trace their rashes back to their cleansers and makeup removers and are surprised when I mention it. These removers can irritate the thin eyelid skin quite a bit. 
If you can tolerate routine makeup removers then it’s reasonable to use them. It even helps to apply Vaseline or Aquaphor after using a makeup remover to help soothe the skin.
However, I find the simpler things are cheaper, effective, and far less irritating. This would be using ‘no more tears’ shampoos to gently wash the eyelashes. Another simple safe method is to use a cotton swab with white petroleum jelly or olive oil or baby oil to gently wipe away the mascara. It’s so gentle and far less irritating. 
The concerns that come up with patients recently have mostly been eyelash fallout. When removing mascara, many get so aggressive that the delicate eyelid skin gets irritated or inflamed resulting in loss of some eyelashes. It can take 1-3 months to get these back!
Most people that are aggressive with mascara removal are usually being aggressive because of the clumping. It’s basically an attempt to wipe away mascara from eyelashes that are sticking together!
If you can avoid clumping then you will probably be far less aggressive with your makeup removal!  Choosing gentle techniques for makeup removal will help tremendously.

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.